Changed Lives

Sonny’s Story
“I don’t know where I would be today without the help of Crossroads Mission Avenue. All the help they gave me, everything they taught me, it allowed me a fresh start in life.”

Sonny had a dark past. The downhill spiral started when he was 12. He began walking away from being a “pretty good boy,” drinking and smoking cigarettes. Freshman year of high school brought many changes to Sonny’s life; his family moved, his brother graduated and moved away, and Sonny felt alone. His new friends were involved with drugs, and by Sonny’s junior year in high school he was a heavy user himself. Then Sonny was taught to use a needle, and for the next 7 years his life revolved around sticking a needle in his arm. Drugs became the only thing he wanted. He could no longer keep a job, was sleeping in his car, closets and grain bins, and started stealing. He was repeatedly arrested and eventually ended up in prison for 2 1/2 years.

Sonny started hearing about God’s love from a jailer, and he spent his time in jail and prison learning all he could about God. That jailer heard a radio ad about Crossroads Mission Avenue, and encouraged him to call when the time came for him to leave. After 2 1/2 years in prison, Sonny came to Crossroads Mission Avenue.

Sonny felt loved and cared for at Crossroads Mission Avenue. “We started every day with devotions, and it was so encouraging and uplifting to start every day that way – in praise to God. Through classes we learned how to take care of ourselves, eat well, live on a budget, interview for jobs, save money, and slowly ease back into the community – how to restart life. I needed that help. It prepared me for a better life.”

Since leaving Crossroads Mission Avenue he attended college and obtained his ASE-certification to be an auto technician, married the woman of his dreams and purchased a home. Sonny is now a youth pastor, an auto mechanic, husband to his wife Kristen and father to their son Josiah and daughter Taylor.

“I don’t know where I would be today without the help of Crossroads Mission Avenue. All the help they gave me, everything they taught me, it allowed me a fresh start in life.”

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Kairy’s Story
“Now I’m Found”

Kairy comes from a loving Christian home, and he’s not sure what led him down the path of alcohol addiction. Maybe it was the racism he experienced growing up in Georgia. Maybe it was the stresses of life when he moved out.

Whatever triggered it, Kairy dove into the deep end, battling the bottle and bouts of homelessness. He got in trouble with the law and did some time in jail.

When on probation, the court ordered him to move to a transitional living facility. Kairy chose Crossroads. It might’ve been the best decision of his life.

Kairy got sober, got counseling, got a good job, got all the help he needed.

“They’re good people,” Kairy says of the Crossroads staff. “They stand on good things. They helped me with my mental state, with coming back into society.”

Writing poetry has also helped. Kairy, who goes by the pseudonym Kûpid for his rap-like rhymes, saying his writing keeps him calm and focused. Here’s just a snippet of his work:

I once was lost but now I’m found
But what I lost is nowhere around
My heartbeat I heard, but is it how I sound?
Eyes start to drown as they gaze upon love’s crown …
What I’m trying to say is every blessing is a count

Kairy’s certainly counting his blessings … starting with supporters like you.

“I can only imagine where I would be without Crossroads,” he says. “This is a good place. They always give you a helping hand.”

When you give someone a helping hand, it’s an extension of your compassion. Thank you!

Chance’s Story
Second Chance

Chance didn’t have much of a chance, considering his background. He was estranged from his biological family. His adoptive family abused him, locking him in his room for a week at a time with no food or water. He ended up selling drugs to try to make ends meet.

Chance joined the Marines in an attempt to find a fresh start, but was medically discharged due to a bad heart. He tried another fresh start: He got a job and got engaged … only to have his fiancée steal all his money and run away.

“I got left in the cold,” Chance says. “I hit rock bottom.” That’s when his drinking and drug use worsened.

Chance felt suicidal. He drove around, aimlessly. He happened to be driving through Nebraska when he ran out of gas — right down the street from Crossroads. He spent the night there … and ended up staying for six months.

Chance finally got sober, got a job and got out on his own again — making the most of his second chance.

Your heartfelt generosity is giving struggling neighbors a second chance!

A previous guest shares her gratitude…
My mother, siblings and I were homeless with no place to go and no one to take us in!

From 2018 – Crossroads Mission Avenue was blessed by a special gift last night when a previous guest donated this cookie.  With permission, we share her story …… “I hope everyone enjoyed the Eileen’s cookie!!! I wanted to share why I wanted to give this cookie to Crossroads but I was so choked up when bringing it in! When I was younger (year 2000) my mother, siblings and I were homeless with no place to go and no one to take us in! Crossroads opened their arms and hearts to us and gave us a pillow to lay on and food to eat so we wouldn’t starve! It became a home to us and others and staff became family! Crossroads saved me and my family in our desperate time of need!! My mother passed away the next year (2001). Us children (at the time were ages 10 (me) 13 (brother) and 16 (sister) moved into our grandparents home! I know the cookie wasn’t much but it meant so much to me to give it to all of you!! My mother would have done the same exact thing! Hope you all enjoyed! God bless ❤️”

Maria’s Story
“Every day I am getting closer to the goals I have made.”

From 2014, here’s Maria’s story in her words:  Hello, my name is Maria. I want to let you know how Crossroads Mission has helped me find myself by opening their door to me at my time of need. Earlier this year I was not the person I am today. My life revolved around drugs. My daughter was removed from my home. I gave up on life since she was removed and turned to drugs to cope with life. In April, I lost my home because of drugs. I also lost my job earlier in the year because of drugs. Doing drugs made me forget my pain in my past and current living situations. I thought as long as I had drugs to turn to, then I could live. After moving from one place to another, I got tired of wondering where I was going to sleep that night. On July 18, 2014, Crossroads Mission opened their door to me. Now I can tell people I have a place to stay without worrying if I will be kicked out for no reason. Since I have been at Crossroads, I have been able to successfully complete classes for probation and my aftercare program. Crossroads has a program for all of us guests to complete. We can complete this program on our time so we don’t feel overwhelmed with other things we are working on to better ourselves. The program is called the “Personal Resilience Program (PRP).” The program talks about the following topics: 1. Enemies of Resilience 2. Beliefs Matter 3. Managing Your Life 4. Financial Resilience 5. Resolving Everyday Conflict. When I first got here, I told myself that I didn’t have time for these classes and was making up excuses to not attend them. Finally I told myself I needed to grow up and start to make a difference in my life. Now that I have completed the PRP classes, I am glad that I took the time to attend each session. The classes helped me to remember my morals and values in life. It gave me other tools I can use if other ways are not working out the way I think it should be doing. After three months staying at Crossroads Mission, I feel 100% than in April. Every day I am getting closer to the goals I have made. My days are not as stressful. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that can be hectic, but I know I will overcome the obstacles that am facing that day.

Cole’s Story
“I’m a Completely Different Person”

For Cole, the choice was a no-brainer.

He could go back to jail and lose his job. Or he could go to Crossroads Mission Avenue and keep working. He didn’t have to think about it: Crossroads, of course.

Cole was fortunate to even be given a choice. He’d been in trouble with the law before, and spent two years in jail on multiple charges. When he was released in April 2020, he was on probation and warned to stay out of trouble. But a few months later, he was busted for driving while intoxicated. That’s when his probation officer gave him the choice.

On being given a second chance, Cole says, “I was really thankful.” Crossroads is all about second chances. We’re a place of grace. “They’re not judgmental,” says Cole, 27. “They don’t look down on you.”

Cole, a longtime alcoholic, hasn’t had a drink since that DUI. He credits Crossroads, and God, with his transformation. “I’m a completely different person,” he says. “I love being sober, and I have no desire to use again. I don’t need alcohol or drugs to set off good feelings in my brain. I’m really high on life right now.”

Cole, who is Native American, adhered to his culture’s spiritual beliefs for most of his life. But at Crossroads, he discovered Christianity, and has fully embraced it. “I’ve had a spiritual awakening,” he says. “Now I believe in the Holy Trinity — God, Son and Holy Spirit.” He’s motivated to stay sober. He has a good job in the manufacturing business, and he’s looking forward to getting his own place again.

“I’m just going to keep working hard,” he says. “Thanks to Crossroads, I’ve got a new view of life.”

Thank you for all you do to help people turn their lives around.

Serina’s Story
“They’re Wonderful!”

Serina couldn’t keep a job to save her life.

She would lose control at work — an outburst, a scream or physically lashing out — and get fired. She’d find another job, and the same thing would happen again. And again. “I was let go a lot,” she says.

Serina ended up homeless, wandering the streets. Her erratic behavior continued; she couldn’t keep it under control. She asked for help at Crossroads, where they took her to a doctor. And at 41 years old, Serina finally got an answer. She had Tourette syndrome. “I didn’t know I had it,” she says.

Crossroads worked with doctors to get Serina on the medication that would keep her condition under control, enabling her to live a more “normal” life.

“If it weren’t for Crossroads, I’d still be out on the street,” she says. “Those people are wonderful!”

For Serina and many others, you help neighbors in their time of need.

A volunteer’s experience – Mark’s Story
“It’s been an adventure!”, says Mark.
Sky and Kelsi’s Story
“Kelsi says if it weren’t for Crossroads, she wouldn’t have a brother anymore.”

Sometimes you’ve just got to show some tough love to those you love the most.

Sky was ruining his life, his health and his relationships with his drinking. His sister, Kelsi, had seen it all as a probation officer and knew a little something about caring for a person without enabling their bad habits.

“I did the hard love thing,” she says. “Not giving him money, not letting him stay at my place . . . ”

Sky interrupts: “Never ask her to buy cigarettes, that’s for sure!”

The siblings laugh, but then Kelsi turns serious again: “I totally thought I would be burying him.”

Sky doesn’t argue with that. His drinking had resulted in five arrests, contributed to the loss of his marriage, and ultimately led to homelessness.

At that point, he decided he had to make some changes. So he came to Crossroads Mission Avenue.

“I came here to quit drinking,” Sky says. That was July 16, 2020. He hasn’t had a drink since.

Sky’s success story goes beyond just sobriety. By December, he was on staff as the manager of the Crossroads probation house in Grand Island. In that role, he helps men who are on probation or parole to get back on their feet and find a job.

Their jobs rarely intersect — Sky is in Grand Island, Kelsi works for the probation office in Hastings — but they do sometimes “talk shop.”

But mostly, they’re just a brother and sister who care about each other very much.

Sky says if it weren’t for Kelsi, he’d have no relationship with his family. Kelsi says if weren’t for the Mission, she wouldn’t have a brother anymore.

“I believe they saved my brother’s life,” she says.

Thank you to Crossroads Mission Avenue’s loyal donors — for your support and for playing a role in these life-changing stories!

Carmon’s Story
“I Felt Like I Had Failed”

When it rains, it pours. Just ask Carmon. She was living in a basement apartment when the Great Flood of 2019 arrived. The waters rushed in, and she lost everything.

She found another place, but her hours at work were being cut, and it became cost prohibitive. She left that behind and moved into an extended-stay hotel, but it was infested with bedbugs.

Then the pandemic hit, and a couple of her adult children lost their jobs. Carmon depleted all of her savings trying to help them stay afloat. Out of money and options, Carmon turned to Crossroads for help.

“At first I was like, Why am I here?,” she says. “I felt like I had failed. I couldn’t imagine what I had done to deserve this, because I was trying to do the right things.” But life had hit hard, and Carmon was grateful to have a safe place to land.

“The staff here is amazing and so supportive,” she says. “And I know The Man Upstairs is going to take care of me. I know that. I’m just trying to learn to turn it all over to him, which is hard for me, because I’m one of those control people.”

Carmon was about to lose control of one more thing: Her company eliminated her job last summer, while she was at the Mission. But it wasn’t long before God provided her with a new job, even closer to home.

She’s renting one of the reduced-rate apartments at Crossroads until she can save up some money, buy a car and get back out on her own again. Till then, she’s thankful for the Mission.

“I’m excited about the future,” she says. “I’m glad Crossroads is here.”

She’s glad for the support of friends like you, too. Thank you for being there!